21 Ways to Make Fitness Fun

Get out of that workout rut and make your gym time fun time

October 5, 2010
friends fun outdoor workout
Kevin Kozicki/Getty Images

Stuck. Fed up. Bored stiff. For every way we express our mind-numbing exercise frustrations, there’s a totally simple way to break past it, says exercise physiologist Amy Dixon. Make gym time fun time with these energizing tips and bust out of your workout rut.

1. No Excuses
The most important part of getting fit is to stop making excuses not to, Dixon says. We all are crunched for time, sore, and just looking for an excuse to stay in our jammies.


But no excuse is good enough for you not to take care of your health. Start taking a “no-ifs,-ands,-or-buts-about-it” attitude toward fitness.

2. Be Flexible
You don’t have to pack your workout into just one time slot. If you need to, break your workout into two or more smaller workout sessions spaced throughout the day. You’ll get great results and will still have time for the rest of your responsibilities.

More: The best yoga for women

3. Do Something
If you're like most women, when you don't have a full hour to devote to exercise you opt out. For what? A few more sleepy minutes between the sheets.

But even if you can only work out for 20 minutes a day, that time will make a difference. Something is always better than nothing.

4. Make it a Habit
Fitness isn't a luxury. It's a necessity. By thinking of exercise as just one of many important health habits, working out will become just as automatic as brushing your teeth, says Dixon.

More: 25 Superfoods for your body

5. Get a Goal
When starting or even maintaining a workout, motivation is key. Jot down your goal and post it in a prominent place like your bathroom mirror.

Whether you want to lower your cholesterol or fit into your size 6 jeans without a struggle, chasing a goal is the best way to keep you moving toward fitness.

6. No Gear Needed
Don’t have the dough to dish out on a fancy gym membership? Luckily, plenty of recession-proof exercise routines don’t involve a gym, equipment, or cash.

These exercises have the added benefit of freeing up your schedule, since you won’t have to head off to the gym to get in a sweat.


7. Be Consistent
Wonder why the last day you skipped at the gym magically turned into a month? Because when we don't consistently exercise, fitness falls completely off our radar.

To stay consistent, Dixon recommends creating a set schedule of exercising at least three days a week. That way, on those days, you can literally check off working out. After all, what’s more satisfying than checking off a to-do?

8. Assault Your Senses
You can't possibly get bored on the treadmill when you're watching trashy TV, chatting with your beaux on the phone, listening to your fave jam, or reading WH.

One activity not enough? Combine forces for extra stimulation.

More: 12 Foods for a flat belly

9. Start Slowly
If you start an exercise routine too fast, it’s easy to get discouraged--or end up with a dumbbell on your toe.

But if you start off exercising slowly, and then gradually add difficulty to your workout, you’ll feel challenged, not defeated. That's much more motivating.

10. Keep Track
By writing down your daily workouts (how long you run, how much you lift), you can literally see your progress on the page--often before it shows on your body.

Plus, you won’t have to play guessing games with the equipment every time you hit the gym, ensuring you the best sweat possible.

More: How to Stick to your workout


11. Wear the Right Gear
Not only does the newest workout apparel make you look pretty damn good, it can battle blisters, wick away moisture, and keep you feeling perky. All that makes for a better workout.

12.  Don't Overtrain
It's important to stay committed to working out regularly, but if you are hitting the gym for hours every day, you might be overtraining.

When you exercise, you create tiny tears in your muscles. When they build back up, you add muscle mass and strength. But that's not possible without adequate recovery time between tough workouts.

More: Simple 3 exercise workout to burn body fat fast

The cure? Take a step back from your schedule or create a rotation of muscle groups to work on throughout the week. That way, you can work out every day while still giving your body a rest.

13. Set Mini Goals
Dropping 20 pounds or running a 10K can be daunting, but when we set mini goals, we make progress more attainable. Try to lose five pounds or clock in 30 minutes on the treadmill; then go from there.

Accomplishing our goals keeps us moving forward and challenging ourselves to meet even bigger ones in the future--like that marathon.

14.  Reward Yourself
Celebrate your victories with healthy treats. Instead of going out for dinner, go out dancing. Instead of buying a new TV, buy a new elliptical.

15. Find a Friend
For some, working out alone can be as daunting as a yearly pap. Try exercising with a workout partner who will keep you committed and not let you cut corners.

Some women also like to chart and discuss their progress with their exercise partner. Whether your set-up is relaxed or structured, a friend can bring support and accountability to any workout plan.

16. Cross the Line
Ever wonder why you were in such great shape during high school? It wasn't just the revved-up metabolism. You were running track, winning medals, and being an all-around superstar. Fitness was a means to an end.

But many of us haven't really clocked in any time on the track since then. Running a race can give you a goal and, each day, your workout will be one small step in reaching it. Finishing a race can give you the passion you need to make exercise a lifestyle.

17. Mix It Up
If you’re like most women, you like routines (manicotti Mondays, sauna Sundays). But strict routines can wreck havoc on your fitness. Doing the same exercises day in and day out can bore both your muscles and your mind. When many women get bored, they just stop.

More: Yoga for workaholics

Try varying your exercise routine on a regular basis. Combine the cardio exercises, strength training, and fitness classes to stay interested.

18. Have Fun
No matter how many strategies you use, you won’t get fit if you aren't having fun. If you don't enjoy traditional workouts, playing sports is a great way to bring back the good ’ole days of gym class.

With many gyms and studios offering cheap classes throughout the year, you can also try your skills at hip-hop dancing, yoga, kickboxing, and Pilates.

19. Jam Out
Music is a great way to make it over that last hill on the trail. But we can get in a music rut just as easily as we get ourselves into workout ruts.

More: Workout playlist for running

20. Group Fitness
If you have been working out by yourself for a long time, experiencing group fitness can refresh your health and exercise outlook. Group exercise classes build a sense of community and can make you look forward to hitting the gym.

Online health support groups can also provide motivation and accountability when the going gets tough.

21.  Change Scenery
Go outside once and a while. The white walls of your gym can get monotonous.